RLR/Andersen Racing To Move to RLR's Headquarters; Preston, Reggio Named To Top Engineering Positions PALMETTO, Fla., Oct. 14 - The latest news from RLR/Andersen Racing's Firestone Indy Lights team features a new location, a new lead engineer...
RLR/Andersen Racing To Move to RLR's Headquarters; Preston, Reggio Named To Top Engineering Positions
PALMETTO, Fla., Oct. 14 - The latest news from RLR/Andersen Racing's Firestone Indy Lights team features a new location, a new lead engineer and a promotion.
The Palmetto, Fla.-based team announced today that its two-car Firestone Indy Lights team will relocate to Rahal Letterman Racing's (RLR) IndyCar headquarters in Hilliard, Ohio on or about Dec. 1.
Andersen Racing is the official development team of RLR. Its Firestone Indy Lights team worked out of RLR's shop in suburban Columbus, Ohio this summer to save travel costs, but will be based there full-time in 2009.
Andersen Racing's Star Mazda team will continue to operate from the team's test track, Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Fla. Andersen Racing has already won the 2008 team championship in that series, while two of its drivers, Peter Dempsey and Tom Gladdis, will go for its driver championship on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Andersen Racing also won the team and driver titles this year in the F2000 Championship Series, earning that driver championship with Anders Krohn.
Due to the expansion of the Firestone Indy Lights schedule in 2009 and RLR/Andersen's relocation to Ohio, Dominic and Nicholas Cape are stepping down as the team's Firestone Indy Lights engineers. Taking over those positions are veteran engineer Walter Preston assisted by Mike Reggio, who is being promoted from the position of Andersen Racing's Star Mazda director of engineering.
The team's off-season testing program begins soon. Interested drivers are asked to contact team co-owner Dan Andersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (941) 723-3900 for more information.
"Following two very successful seasons in Firestone Indy Lights, we have decided to significantly advance our program in that series by permanently relocating it to RLR's headquarters," Andersen explained. "We will have access to all areas. Our cars will be worked on in bays adjacent to RLR's IndyCar operation, and our engineers will be located within RLR's engineering department. We expect that this immersion of our operation into RLR's will provide us with the boost to our program that is required to move us from race winners to championship winners.
"We thank the Cape brothers for establishing our Firestone Indy Lights program in a very strong way in just two short years, and we wish them all the best as they pursue other opportunities in motorsports," Andersen added. "We're thrilled that we were able to find someone with Walter Preston's experience to join our team for 2009."
Preston steps into the top engineering spot at RLR/Andersen Racing with 36 years of experience in the sport. A resident of Granville, Ohio, he has worked with various open-wheel cars all the way up to IndyCar and the Indy 500.
"Walter worked with RLR on Danica Patrick's Atlantic program several years ago," Andersen noted. "He just concluded a season engineering for Newman Wachs Racing on the Atlantic race car of Simona De Silvestro, winning the Long Beach round and finishing eighth in that championship."
"I'm looking forward to a new association with Dan and John Andersen, and trying to help them move on to their next level," said Preston, who won the Formula Atlantic championship with Chris Smith in 1992, and the two-liter Can-Am championship with Jim Trueman in 1981. "I'm also looking forward to getting back together with the RLR staff."
Preston enjoys working with young drivers. That should make him a perfect fit with Andersen Racing, one of the most respected and accomplished junior formula car teams in North America.
"This year we accomplished a lot with Simona," he said of De Silvestro, 20, who won at Long Beach after starting second and finished the year with four top-five finishes and nine top-10s. "I also enjoyed working with Carl Skerlong in Atlantics and Brian Cunningham in Lights, and helping to get Jeret Schroeder into the Indy 500 in his rookie season in 1999."
In addition to Cunningham in Indy Lights, Preston worked with Robby Unser at Team Medlin in 1996, and Mark Hotchkis (1995) and Eddie Lawson (1993) at Leading Edge Motorsports while participating in that series. His IndyCar work with both Schroeder and Roberto Guerrero came while working with Price Cobb, and he's also done data work for Team Menard.
Preston also worked on Finlay Motorsports' Grand-Am Daytona Prototype and Grand-Am Cup program in 2005 and 2006. He worked with the drivers who tied for second in this year's Daytona Prototype driver point standings, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing teammates Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, when they were competing in the Atlantic series. (Fogarty and Preston were with RLR in 2003, while Preston worked with Gurney when he finished third in the Atlantic championship in 2002 with Dorricott Racing.) In addition to the Can-Am title with Trueman, his sports car successes include designing successful Trans-Am and IMSA GTO chassis for Rocketsports and McDill Racing.
Andersen Racing strives to promote both drivers and staff from within, so Andersen is especially pleased that Reggio will move up to the team's Firestone Indy Lights program.
"Mike oversaw our Star Mazda and F2000 programs this year, with those two teams winning 17 races in all," Andersen noted of Reggio, who will relocate to the Dublin, Ohio area from his present home in Bradenton, Fla. "He has been with Andersen Racing for the past three seasons, and will continue to provide some oversight of our Mazda program during tests and whenever else possible, while moving his main focus to Firestone Indy Lights."